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Plant fibres 'to compete in 10 years'

Plant fibres 'to compete in 10 years' Image

Major auto-maker Ford says that it believes that within 10 years plant fibres will become competitive with conventional materials for car parts.

Speaking at a German event, a research engineer for Ford Europe, Maria Magnani, told BusinessGreen that sustainable fibres are vital for manufacturers to cut the weight of cars and improve fuel economy - especially as fuel becomes increasingly expensive.

She said that while the market is still dominated by traditional materials, the falling cost of sustainable alternatives is making them a more viable option.

Ms Magnani, who works on advanced materials at Ford, said the traditional materials "are not expensive and have been optimised for 40, 50 years", while the sustainable materials are in small production so "do not have the volume or scale".

She went on to say that once they do have volume scale, she is confident that in "sooner than 10 years" sustainable materials will be "cost competitive".

Ford already uses kenaf, flax and wood fibres - all of which are renewable - to make door trim inserts, with up to 50% of the door inserts on the new B-MAX made from flax fibres.

published: 25/06/2012 17:00:00

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